Dementia clearly linked to chronic boozing, say scientists

Feb 22, 2018, 01:04
Dementia clearly linked to chronic boozing, say scientists

"Heavy drinking is linked to structural and functional changes in the brain which can be identified via imaging", Rehm explains.

The current research work was a nationwide observational study of over one million adults diagnosed with dementia in France. In doing so, they discovered a link between alcohol use disorders and an increased risk of all types of dementia - especially early-onset dementia. Alcohol use disorder was the primary exposure, and dementia was the main outcome.

The study used data from the French National Hospital Discharge database, which holds details on all hospital admissions, including patient demographics, reasons for hospital stay, and treatments received.

'This study in no way suggests that moderate alcohol intake could cause early-onset dementia. The proportions were less among women, but showed a similar pattern: 1.5% of all women and 4% of women with dementia had alcohol use disorders.

A new study links alcohol use disorders to all types of dementia especially early-onset dementia.

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Alcohol use disorders were also linked to other independent risk factors for dementia onset, like high blood pressure, tobacco smoking, depression, lower education, diabetes, and hearing loss, among modifiable risk factors.

Excessive drinking could lead to early onsest dementia, a new study found.

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"We've known all along that alcohol can cause damage to the brain". It has also been shown to accelerate vascular brain damage. "The more people you have, the less confidence you have in the elements that go into the diagnosis of dementia". "However, both types of research are subject to the usual limitations of observational studies: they cannot definitely establish cause and effect, and any observed relationships are nearly certainly confounded by other factors, not all of which can be easily measured".

As a result of the strong association found in the study, the researchers suggested that screening, brief interventions for heavy drinking, and treatment for alcohol use disorders should be implemented to reduce the alcohol-attributable burden of dementia.

"We should move forward with clear public health messages about the relationship between both alcohol-use disorders and alcohol consumption, respectively, and dementia", he commented in the same journal.

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Prof Woodward is sceptical about the introduction of such measures in Australia without harder evidence to prove that alcohol causes dementia.

Researchers said cutting down on alcohol consumption could be beneficial to the brain. It revealed that people who engaged in binge drinking had a 62% higher chance of suffering from decline in cognitive function.

Chronic heavy drinking is defined by the World Health Organization as consuming more than 60g of pure alcohol per day for men (around six or more standard drinks), and more than 40g per day for women (around four or more standard drinks).

If the picture appears confusing, then this is all the more reason to stick to drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

"... I don't think that females who are drinking two units or less or males who are drinking three units or less of alcohol should be in dire fear of getting dementia", says Prof Woodward.

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